Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Why Media Coverage Usually Covers More than You

When The Wall Street Journal does a front page story about eyelash products, I pay attention, especially when I've just seen a "Today Show" segment on eyelash enhancers a few weeks before. But it's not because my thin, light lashes need help. It's because I know that one of the brands featured in the publicity has got a good campaign rolling and I'm wondering which one is the machine behind the excellent national media exposure. It's hard to tell because each of these pieces uses multiple sources and features competitive products.

And it wouldn't surprise me if one of the marketing executives at the company funding the campaign is disappointed in this exceptional exposure because it is not all about his product.

Anyone pitching the media on a new trend/product/service needs to understand that 9 times out of 10, it will not be about you and only you. When it's only about you, it's an advertisement, not an article, and publicity is about the news side of the business, not the advertising side. This is important because it's one of the biggest issues I see among those who are not informed about how the publicity process works. Their expectations are unrealistic (and nobody has taken the time to educate them and manage expectations).

Tip: When pitching a story or segment on your new product/service/trend, do the legwork for the journalist -- identify others they should interview to get a complete and well-rounded story, provide industry statistics, offer to help acquire appropriate illustrations or graphics.

Even when a media outlet profiles you, it's not always just about you -- the writer will often talk to co-workers, competitors, or friends to round out the story.

Back to the eyelash enhancers: Kudos to the team using the media to bring these products to our attention. You're doing a good job of it. And if one of your clients is complaining that the news coverage also puts the spotlight on competitors, show him this piece.

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